The Standard Talking Machine Company of Chicago distributed machines to local merchants as part of a promotional scheme. Customers received coupons with each purchase, good toward a "free" talking machine. The catch was that the machines were fitted with an oversize (approximately 1/2 inch) spindle, locking the purchaser into special proprietary records.
The machines were usually of Columbia origin. The openworks machine here, introduced in 1904 with a regular spindle as a Columbia Type AU, was offered by the Standard Talking Machine Company in 1905. Standard may have designated it as a Type AA, but most collectors would refer to it as an Openworks Standard X.
This machine is quite small, the base being around 7" by 6", with a horn around 16" long with 8.5" bell.
This example is totally original, no reproduction parts. It is in working condition, and I have disassembled the reproducer and replaced the old dried out gaskets.
The ability to see the governor spinning as the motor plays, and to see the internal working of the gearing, offers a certain fascination to modern collectors, and this model has gained in popularity in recent years. Its small size also makes it popular for collectors pressed for display space.
I don't have any of the special records here right now (although they are not particularly hard to find) but I do have a few discs in which the center hole has been enlarged in order to play on this machine.
If you are looking for something to play a lot of 78rpm records this is probably not your best choice. However, if you want an interesting example of early 20th century technology that does not take up a lot of room you might find this Openworks Standard X extraordinarily appealing.
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